Tag Archives: Prince Andrew

Underwhelming Royal Response to Underwater UK

“Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.”
-Sam Ewing, Professional Baseball Player

In December, the UK experienced record-breaking rainfall making it the wettest month in the over hundred years since weather data has been kept. The amount of precipitation has had devastating effects on areas throughout the UK.  In December, more than 16,000 homes in England were flooded, roads collapsed and bridges were obliterated, with Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire the hardest hit.

During the severe weather that besieged the UK, while elected officials played dodgeball with blame and tried to convince citizens that amongst the looming storm clouds, silver linings were somewhere nestled, the response from the unelected royals was for the most part underwhelming.

On December 8th, in the aftermath of Storm Desmond, the Queen stated, “Please convey my sympathy to all those whose homes or livelihoods have been affected by the recent flooding. My thanks got to members of the emergency services, local authorities, military personnel and volunteers who are providing assistance in these difficult conditions.”  Her Majesty is 89 and the Head of State so it’s not like she was going to slip on a pair of Wellies and help residents drag their soaked moldy couches to the curb, but she’s worth about $500 million, maybe she could have sent a few hampers full of snacks so business owners picking through the wreckage of their livelihoods could have a little something to nibble on or perhaps had some bottles of whisky sent over from Balmoral, people who have had everything they own destroyed often appreciate a nip.

One thing I could never understand about members of the British Royal Family is why they always get gifts at engagements, even when visiting areas that have suffered total devastation.  People who have been through horrible tragedies and are trying to scrape the pieces of their lives back together give the unbelievably privileged royals presents as a thank you for their presence.  It’s bizarre.  I’d make for a terrible royal, I would be up all night baking cookies as a little pick-me-up for those who have been through hell, putting together care packages for people whose lives have been ripped apart because I was taught that as a guest, you should never arrive empty-handed.  Shouldn’t the royals be the ones bearing gifts?

Prince Charles is really the only royal who stepped up to help those whose homes and businesses were hit by the flooding.  He responded to the destruction by Storm Desmond in Cumbria by making a personal donation of an undisclosed sum and allocating £40,000 from the Prince’s Countryside Fund to help with the recovery while the Business Emergency Resilience Group set up by Prince Charles provided aid to impacted businesses.  On December 21st, Prince Charles visited afflicted areas of Cumbria.  On New Year’s Eve Prince Charles’ wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, became the second working royal to visit the affected regions when she accompanied her husband on a surprise visit to Ballater in Aberdeenshire which had been battered by Storm Frank which caused River Dee to burst its banks.  Prince Charles walked around, expressing his concern to flood victims, but according to resident Dawn Rennie, “drew the line at helping with the mopping up!”

Not that anyone expected Prince Charles to be pushing around a pole with a fibered head around, that’s totally his son’s thing.  Prince Charles did something pretty royally amazing, though, he had the cooks at his Birkhall estate prepare meals for some local residents who had to be evacuated from their homes.  Okay, so he directed people who worked for him to cook for flood victims, but in Royal World these days, that’s practically the equivalent of giving a stranger a kidney.

So where were the rest of the royals?  Well, Prince William was spotted pheasant hunting on New Year’s Day in Norfolk.  Prince Edward, Sophie, and their two children were photographed out on a pheasant hunt a couple of days later.  Apparently the Windsors just didn’t get in enough bloodsport in at the traditional Boxing Day Pheasant Hunt.  If you ever feel in need of being super-bummed out about the cruel realities of these pheasant hunts complete with a story of nearby children being psychologically scarred by one of Prince Philip’s shooting parties, here’s a grim glimpse into the royal bloodsport: http://animalaid.org.uk/h/n/NEWS/news_shooting/ALL/811//

The worst of the floods hit Yorkshire on Boxing Day when Prince Andrew would have been busy killing pheasant and probably unbuttoning his pants after a large meal or just because he’s gross.  But somewhere  along the way someone remembered that Prince Andrew was the Duke of York so a statement was released on December 28th, “I am sorry to hear about the severe flooding across Yorkshire and the devastating impact it is having on so many homes and businesses.  My thoughts are with everyone in Yorkshire that is affected at this time.”  By that time, biker clubs were in Yorkshire guarding evacuated homes and businesses which were being targeted by looters but I’m sure Prince Andrew’s message super-helped out, too.

On January 6th, the 82-year-old Duchess of Kent who is retired from royal duty save for the very rare event and prefers to go by Katharine Kent while she does her charity work quietly and without fuss made a private visit to York.  Before the Duke of York.  But the widely criticized Prince Andrew made his way up there yesterday, talked to some flood victims, did some pointing, and had his umbrella held for him. As the Daily Mail pointed out, the picture of Andrew having his umbrella held for him  was posted by him on his own Twitter account.  Hopefully the roasting he is getting for being too important to hold his own umbrella at least helped to dry out some of Yorkshire.

Unfortunately overnight,  Aberdeenshire got another wave of flooding with River Don bursting its banks.

It’s just too bad that William and Kate are the types of characters who don’t turn up at all.  Their totally sucking might just absorb some of this water, the UK’s had enough.

redheart

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British Royal Family Wants Change Back From Their 0 Fucks

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve come to conclude that the number of fucks given by the British Royal Family is precisely 0.

0 fucks about austerity measures in the UK.  0 fucks about demonstrating their value to the country they represent.  0 fucks about proving they are more than welfare recipients living in the largest most gilded trailers on the planet.

On June 15th, the most consistent of all 0 fuck-givers, Kate Middleton bagged on one of the monarchy’s most prestigious traditions, the Order of the Garter ceremony, presumably returning to the maternity leave for which she doesn’t work enough to qualify, to enjoy nannies, housekeepers and staff taking care of her stay-at-home duties so she can lounge in luxury and emerge occasionally for the warm loving embrace of LK Bennett sales.

The same day that Kate returned to her regularly scheduled pampered seclusion, Prince William gave 0 flying fucks about spending £16,000 ($25,173 in USD) on a roundtrip helicopter ride to the Magna Carta 800th Anniversary events, shaving a mere 50 minutes off each leg of the 90 minute drive.  A frequent giver of 0 fucks, Prince William is nine months into his training with East Anglian Air Ambulance and is expected to begin his new job as pilot in the spring that’s already passed. In response to outcries from the taxed masses, a Kensington Palace spokesperson indicated, “The Duke makes very careful decisions about transport plans and always seeks to travel in the most efficient and inexpensive way possible.”  Well, that makes sense, flying by helicopter is the most efficient and inexpensive travel option available these days, that’s why cars don’t exist anymore and even my flying monkeys take a Sikorsky any time they are forced to do my bidding.

On Saturday night, the Yorks gave 0 fucks about the hundred thousand or so protesting government austerity, spending cuts, and the stripping of public services and hosted a lavish belated Disney-themed birthday bash for 200 guests in honor of March baby Princess Eugenie at the Royal Lodge in Windsor where Prince Andrew enjoys royal rent-free housing benefits.  A seemingly fuck-depleted Princess Eugenie hired seven little people to be her Snow White costume accessories.  Her father, Prince Andrew, went as Prince Charming, giving 0 fucks that many women now will never again be able to refer to their beloved as their Prince Charming without throwing up a little in their mouths.  And the usually charming Prince Harry gave 0 fucks about the party’s Disney theme by showing up as Nintendo character, Super Mario.

One fuck was given on June 19th by Prince Philip who seemed unpleasantly surprised by the appearance of his ex-daughter-in-law, Sarah Ferguson at Ascot, but by virtue of the fuck being given by the unapologetic Duke of Edinburgh who gives no fucks on principal, it immediately vaporized into a noxious gas which was then blamed on the horses.

This week the Royal Household Annual Accounts was released.  As the rest of the nation faces austerity measures, Buckingham Palace is shielded from cuts to public spending under the terms of the Sovereign’s Grant which ensures that the amount the Queen receives can never be less than the year before.  In the past year, the Queen’s income from the Crown Estate rose from £36.1 million to more than £40 million.

Prince Charles’ expense report reveals he is paying £2.965 million (roughly $4.667 million in USD) in allowance to Princes William and Harry and Kate who combined undertook a mere 8 percent of the Royal Family’s official engagements for 2014 and will likely account for even less this year.  The lump sum allowance covers royal expenses such as staff, travel and wardrobe but doesn’t indicate what exactly the money was spent on and how much went to Kate and William who are attempting to live private lives while still reaping all the benefits of being royal.  It doesn’t make much sense for a woman who wants to be a stay-at-home mother and a helicopter pilot to have a full-time royal staff if they aren’t undertaking much in the way of royal duties.  Kate doesn’t need a royal wardrobe either to watch the royal nanny take care of her children, maybe she could auction off what she’s amassed to date for charity so at least those who accepted her as a royal patron could reap some benefit.  The Cambridges should also give up their royal protection which costs taxpayers undisclosed millions and their apartment in Kensington Palace which was renovated at taxpayer expense since regular housewives and helicopter pilots have no need for either.  It’s hardly “value for the money” if all William and Kate do is take.  Maybe if Kate and William had to live like everyone else in the UK, they might actually start giving a fuck and the UK might finally start seeing some change.

redheart

 

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A Royal Excuse To Talk About Diamonds

There are some conflicting reports about the status of Prince Harry and Cressida Bonas’ relationship.  Some are claiming an engagement is imminent while others are speculating that the adorable couple have already split because Cressida was a no-show at the Walking with the Wounded charity event she was reportedly co-hosting with Prince Harry.  Ladies, don’t start bedazzling “I Heart Gingers” t-shirts just yet, there are several legitimate reasons that could explain why Cressy wasn’t there.  First of all, it’s possible she was never actually going to co-host with him at all and that was just a rumor.  Secondly, it’s possible she was sick or had a family emergency.  Or maybe it was because everyone is so eager lately to make their every glance proof that they are marriage-bound, Cressida didn’t want to take the focus off the cause.   When you love someone, you think about things like that.  Recently I made a similar decision, I was concerned my presence could cause distracting speculation that would have been inappropriate for the occasion.  Sometimes the best way to support someone you love is to not be by his side.

It’s understandable why there’s so much excitement over the possibility of Prince Harry getting engaged.  Women especially love engagements, not only because they are celebrations of love, but they also give us a reason to talk about diamonds.

A diamond is really just a mineral made up of repeating units of carbon atoms joined to other carbon atoms by a covalent bond.  Contrary to popular belief, diamonds do not come from coal.  What makes a diamond a girl’s best friend is the high refractive index and dispersion coefficient.  In layman’s terms, light makes them sparkly.

Despite their durability as the hardest mineral, diamonds haven’t always been the go-to choice for engagement rings.  Before the discovery of African diamond mines in the 1870s, diamonds were incredibly rare and expensive.  The most commonly used stones for engagement rings were rubies and opals.  It wasn’t until the late 1930s that diamonds became a popular choice for engagement rings.

The first ever diamond engagement ring was given to Mary of Burgundy in 1477 by Archduke Maximilian of Austria, the diamonds formed the letter M.  The ring sparked a trend among nobility to use diamonds in engagement rings, often incorporating other colored gemstones.  One of the most exquisite diamond/ruby engagement ring combinations was given to Princess Märtha of Sweden by fiancé (and cousin) Crown Prince Olav of Norway in 1928.  It is now worn by Princess Mette-Marit.

Princess Märtha of Sweden's Engagement Ring

Princess Märtha of Sweden’s Engagement Ring

In the British Monarchy, engagement rings with both sapphires and diamonds were the choice for several royal brides including The Queen Mother, Princess Anne, Princess Diana and Duchess Catherine who wears Princess Diana’s ring.  When Princess Diana passed away, Princes William and Harry each were told to select an item that had belonged to their mother.  Prince William chose her Cartier watch, Prince Harry selected her sapphire engagement ring.  Eventually they swapped so Prince William could propose to Kate Middleton with the twelve carat sapphire that had belonged to his mother.

Princess Diana's Engagement Ring

Princess Diana’s Engagement Ring

For Prince Harry’s future wife, that leaves the door open for a new ring.  Princess Diana’s engagement ring is very elegant, but there’s a formality to it that I just can’t see on any girl Harry winds up.  Prince Harry likes the kind of girls who would go camping on purpose.  Adventurous, kind, low-maintenance and of course, blonde.

The “traditional” diamond engagement ring as we know it is actually the creation of diamond cartel De Beers’ marketing campaign that began in 1938.  In 1947, De Beers they introduced the “A Diamond is Forever” slogan that has become part of betrothal’s collective unconscious.  As an enduring symbol of everlasting love, the suggested amount of money that should be spent on the diamond increased from one month of a man’s salary to two.   The diamond engagement ring became a symbol of a man’s socioeconomic status.

These days, engagement rings are more about the women wearing them.  They should reflect her personal style and lifestyle.  More and more women are deciding they aren’t the solitaire types.  The Tiffany and Cartier diamond engagement rings girls used to oooh and aaah over seem a bit uninspired.  Trends are returning to the pre-De Beers campaign days with colored stones being used more and more.  Rings have more personal meaning beyond how much the fiancé makes.

Even though I’ve declined a few marriage proposals (and accepted that one where I assumed he was joking), I never really gave much thought to what kind of engagement ring I would want if I ever did say yes.  Until one day I stumbled across this, my fantasy engagement ring which also comes in white gold and yellow gold.

"Gatsby" Ring in Rose Gold Designer: Heidi Gibson www.heidigibson.com

“Gatsby” Ring in Rose Gold
Designer: Heidi Gibson
www.heidigibson.com

And there’s even a more cost-effective white sapphire and diamond version.

"Gatsby Ring" in White Gold with White Sapphire Designer: Heidi Gibson www.heidigibson.com

“Gatsby Ring” in White Gold with White Sapphire
Designer: Heidi Gibson
www.heidigibson.com

This designer, Heidi Gibson, is a GENIUS.  She creates beautiful pieces at all different price points, offering different size stones and different gems, working within customer budgets and customizing it for the individual.  That kind of flexibility and personalization is what the soon-to-be betrothed are looking for these days.

"Lindy" Ring in Gold with Morganite Designer: Heidi Gibson www.heidigibson.com

“Lindy” Ring in Gold with Morganite
Designer: Heidi Gibson
www.heidigibson.com

One of my favorite engagement rings that moves even further away from the traditional styles of the last seventy years adorns the ring finger of model, socialite and Princess Eugenie pal, Poppy Delevingne.  Unique, yet romantic with its two heart-shaped diamonds flanking the center stone.

Poppy Delevingne's Engagement Ring

Poppy Delevingne’s Engagement Ring

Poppy Delevingne and Prince Harry’s present girlfriend, Cressida, both have a boho-chic aesthetic sense.  Cressida tends to gravitate towards more organic style with romantic prints and flowers in her hair.  A simple solitaire isn’t going to cut it for this boho-chic kitten should she and Prince Harry decide to take a walk down the aisle.  I could see Cressida going for a modern take on floral-inspired engagement rings that became popular in the Victorian era and have been reinterpreted throughout the years.

BeautifulPetra on Etsy has some gorgeous flower-inspired rings, like the Flower Rose Diamond Engagement Ring:

Flower Rose Engagement Ring Designer: BeautifulPetra Available on Etsy

Flower Rose Engagement Ring
Designer: BeautifulPetra
Available on Etsy

The Love in Bloom Ring:

Love in Bloom Ring Designer: BeautifulPetra Available on Etsy

Love in Bloom Ring
Designer: BeautifulPetra
Available on Etsy

And the Rose Diamond Engagement Ring.

Rose Diamond Engagement Ring Designer: BeautifulPetra Available on Etsy

Rose Diamond Engagement Ring
Designer: BeautifulPetra
Available on Etsy

Of course, Prince Harry could always go rooting around in the Royal Family jewelry box to see what gorgeous bauble might be available should he and Cressida choose to become engaged.  The Queen Mother stopped wearing her sapphire engagement ring in favor of a pearl ring around 1950, and I don’t believe that ring has been used by anyone else.  If Prince Harry was looking for an opal engagement ring, he would be hard pressed to find one, the Royal Family is very superstitious about their gems.  Opals are believed by some to bring bad luck to a marriage unless they are surrounded by diamonds or worn by a bride born in the month of October so the British Royal Family steers clear.  They even are apprehensive about rubies in engagement rings, a superstition unique to the House of Windsor.  Given that opals and rubies were the most common stones used in engagement rings by the masses prior to the 1930s, it’s possible the commonness of the stone is what made rubies undesirable to the Royal Family and is at the root of that superstition.  In 1960, Princess Margaret accepted the ruby and diamond engagement ring shaped to look like a rose from Antony Armstrong-Jones.  The marriage ended in divorce, which did not help the ruby’s image in royal eyes.  Of course, the unhappy marriage could have in part been due to Princess Margaret still not being over Peter Townsend, with whom she fell madly in love and wanted to marry but her sister, Queen Elizabeth II, refused to grant permission on the grounds that as a divorced man, he was unsuitable.  Still, the ruby in the engagement ring shouldered some of the blame.  Some were concerned when Prince Andrew gave Sarah Ferguson a ruby and diamond engagement ring.  Their divorce didn’t help the Royal Family’s wariness of engagement rubies either but Sarah still wears her ruby ring from time to time and she and Prince Andrew still care deeply for each other.  Some think the two will eventually get back together again, love triumphing over ruby.  Even though they are divorced, I think they’ve always been and always will be the love of each others’ lives.

I hope there’s another royal engagement soon and not just because I love talking about shiny baubles, but because Prince Harry seems to truly want to settle down and have a family of his own.  Prince Harry has said, “I’ve longed for kids since I was very, very young. And so… I’m waiting to find the right person, someone who’s willing to take on the job.” The women who Prince Harry dates aren’t the type who are after the perks of a royal title, their lives are about more than just salon appointments and shopping trips, they are aware they wouldn’t be just marrying a man, they would be marrying an entire country and with that comes expectation.  I hope Cressida is “willing to take on the job”, everyone deserves to have a love that will last forever.

redheart

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